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article imageAHA: COVID-19 causing heart damage in many patients

By Karen Graham     Aug 15, 2020 in Health
The American Heart Association (AHA), in a statement on Friday, highlighted findings indicating the coronavirus may cause more heart damage than previously believed.
According to the AHA, there is evidence showing that inflammation of the vascular system and injury to the heart occurs in 20 to 30 percent of all hospitalized coronavirus patients.
Many people with high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity who have heart disease or survived a stroke may be more vulnerable to serious complications as a result of COVID-19. The heart damage results in almost 40 percent of all covid-related deaths, the AHA says.
There are also reports of infected people without underlying complications who are developing deadly arrhythmias from infection and inflammation that damage heart muscle and this may further illustrate a critical relationship between COVID-19 and the cardiovascular system.
One recent study in Germany found that despite the fact that 67 percent of the patients who volunteered for the study never required hospitalization, 78 percent had abnormal cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) findings 2 to 3 months after testing positive for the virus. The study was published in JAMA Cardiology.
As the German study illustrates, the long-term cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19 are unclear at this time. The exact mechanism for how the cardiovascular system is compromised is still unknown. It is thought that an immune system overreaction or an autoimmune response (a self-destructive attack on healthy tissue), or both may be involved.
Harvard Crimsons v Brown Bears Harvard University American Football 2009.
Harvard Crimsons v Brown Bears Harvard University American Football 2009.
chensiyuan(CC BY-SA 4.0)
“Much remains to be learned about COVID-19 infection and the heart. Although we think of the lungs being the primary target, there are frequent biomarker elevations noted in infected patients that are usually associated with acute heart injury. Moreover, several devastating complications of COVID-19 are cardiac in nature and may result in lingering cardiac dysfunction beyond the course of the viral illness itself,” said Mitchell S. V. Elkind, president of the American Heart Association, reports WTVR.com.
When otherwise healthy young athletes get the coronavirus and then end up with cardiac abnormalities after recovering, this sets off alarm bells for school officials. Michael Ojo, a 27-year-old former Florida State basketball player, collapsed and died last week during training in Serbia.
Ojo reportedly had tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered. Myocarditis has been found in at least five Big Ten athletes and several players in other conferences, according to ESPN.
To that end, the American Heart Association has established a $2.5 million rapid research fund to fast-track scientific research to better understand COVID-19 and its interaction with cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.
More about American heart association, coronavirus, heart inflammation, Athletes, research fund'
 
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